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Brisket Question - To Crutch or Not

cmkrattcmkratt Posts: 46
edited January 2012 in EggHead Forum

I'm planning on smoking a brisket (trimmed packer) this weekend on my large BGE. I've smoked briskets in past years on my old Weber Genesis, but this will be my first brisket on my new BGE. On the Weber, I've always followed Meathead's recipe on Amazing Ribs and used the Texas Crutch. But I'm wondering if this is the best way to go on the Egg since it holds moisture in so well. Looking through some old posts, it seems some folks are in favor of not using a crutch and going a little hotter than 190, maybe up to 205, and then pulling the brisket off. Also, it seems like Meathead has changed his recipe recently and now advocates wrapping in foil at 150 before the stall instead of after the stall at 180. So now I'm confused and could use some advice!

Comments

  • bdub60bdub60 Posts: 21
    I'd be interested to hear folks thoughts on this as well as a BGE newbie.  Always wrapped briskets on conventional smoker.
    Guns Up! Roll Tide!
  • IrishDevlIrishDevl Posts: 1,390
    I cooked a packer yesterday and just rubbed and put on at 250.  I pulled at 198 and let it rest.  I have never done the recipe you state above, but it cam out great yesterday and this is how I will do it in the future.  I may even pull it at 190 or o next time before the wrap - it will keep cooking.
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,634
    I would cook the brisket to about 165-170* and then foil it. Let it cook foiled to 200* internal, rest for 3 hours and slice. But that is what i would do.
  • I just did Meathead's brisket recipe for my first ever brisket and it came out great. The meat was tender enough that after slicing, a gently used fork would pull the meat a part. The bark wasn't firm and I didn't follow his directions to put it on the grill for 20 min to dry out the mushy bark a little. Although I think I will try that next time. I might not try the crutch at all next time. I almost didn't for the first because I had to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to put it on in order for it to be ready for company. Had I not used the crutch I could have put it on before I went to bed. I was just too nervous to deviate from the recipe my first time.
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,691
    edited January 2012
    I only foil for the rest period after I pull it.
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • bamafan62bamafan62 Posts: 132
    I have done a brisket.  What is a "crutch".

    Thank You,
    Phil
  • GatoGato Posts: 766
    I have done a brisket.  What is a "crutch".

    Thank You,
    Phil
    Pretty sure they are talking about the foil
    Geaux Tigers!!!
  • cmkrattcmkratt Posts: 46
    edited January 2012

    The crutch is the Texas Crutch. It's where you pull the brisket off before it's done (either before or right after the stall), and wrap in some HD foil along with some beer or broth, then put it back on until it's tender. Some people are against it because it softens the bark, but others like it because it usually results in a tender brisket.

    If you just wrap in foil once it's done and then put in a cooler, I don't think that's considered a crutch (don't know for sure though).

  • cmkratt, You're correct, the "crutch" part is using foil during the cooking.  I figure whatever produces the kind of food you want to eat is the right way to do it.
    The Naked Whiz
  • bamafan62bamafan62 Posts: 132
    Thank you.  I omitted a word in my post.  I have NOT done a brisket. 

    Phil
  • The crutch is intended to avoid the temperature stall. I guess it can shave a few hours off your cook, and perhaps is a little more forgiving method to keep moist a piece of meat that wants to dry out. Or so I'm guessing. Next time I'm trying it without it. 
  • Never crutched.  Hope I never have to.
    Large BGE -- Greensboro!


  • GatoGato Posts: 766
    Never crutched.  Hope I never have to.
    Don't knock it till you've tried it. I've done it before. Brisket came out great. If the end product is something you like then it's a good thing.
    Geaux Tigers!!!
  • bubba timbubba tim Posts: 3,216

    I can talk and write about smoking brisket for years. What ever works for you and your family, then go with that.  That is the beauty of the "journey with the beast", go with what you know and/or try some tweaking along the way. I am old school. My 1st bubbaizum was "You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture!" I have found when I used foil during the cook, it lacked the right texture. I do not use this short cut. When you use foil in cooking any meats, you are now "braising" and not smoking.  If you want to explore some others ways, go to this web page. http://www.bubbatim.com/Bubba_s_Brisket.php 

    God luck with your cook.

    SEE YOU IN FLORIDA, March 14th and 15th 2014 http://www.sunshinestateeggfest.com You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture! Visit www.bubbatim.com for BRISKET HELP
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,174

    http://www.bubbatim.com/Bubba_s_Brisket.php 

    God luck with your cook.

    Excellent looking site.  Thanks for sharing.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • cmkrattcmkratt Posts: 46
    edited February 2012
    Bubba tim - thanks for your post. I looked at your site before my original post and I've been inspired to try one your way this weekend.

    And thanks to everyone for your input. I'll let you know how things go.
  • BadongBadong Posts: 125
    I used a crutch this time and was not happy.  Thinking of skipping it next time.  How did it go?
  • smoke_monstersmoke_monster Posts: 42
    edited June 2012
    I've smoked two 16# whole packers both times without foil.  The first time I cooked to temperature (195 degrees) and the flat came out chewy - I thought I overcooked it.  My wife and son didn't like it.  I did a lot of research for the second one and was going to foil it at around 165 but during the cook I was doing some more research and realized that I had in fact undercooked the first brisket.  So I didn't foil after all but instead cooked to tenderness - until my thermopen slid in without resistance.  This second brisket was perfect.  There were 2 other differences between the first and second cooks:  On the second I filled my drip pan with water for the entire cook and basted brisket with drippings every so often after it hit 165.

    So my vote would be to not foil and to make sure you cook to tenderness and not temperature.  Note that my Maverick reads 7 degrees high so digital thermometer differences can also affect cooks - all the more reason to check resistance with a fork/probe/toothpick.


  • cmkrattcmkratt Posts: 46
    I've done several briskets since my OP, and still haven't gotten the moist tenderness that I've gotten by foiling. Last time, I tried starting low at 225 dome temp, but after close to 20 hrs, bumped up to 275 to finish around 195. The point was awesome, but the flat was dry (but tender). I confirmed with the fork test at 195, but did not check before then. Foiled and coolered for a few hrs also. .

    Next time, I'm going to start @ 250 dome and keep it throughout. I'm going to start probing at 180 for tenderness, and pull as soon as it passes the butter and fork twist tests. My theory is that the brisket may already be tender when I start checking @ 190, and maybe I need to probe a little earlier.

    I've been using a calibrated digiq and choice grade packers, so I know that I'm OK there.

    Still enjoying the brisket journey...
  • cmkrattcmkratt Posts: 46
    Smoke Monster - on your second brisket, when you cooked to tenderness, what temp did the probe slide out easily? Just curious how close it was to 195.
  • smoke_monstersmoke_monster Posts: 42
    edited June 2012
    It was about 205 in most spots.  I probed several places and some of the spots were ready an hour+ before other spots.  The more stubbon spots were in the 190's.  These are all temps from the flat.  

    My understanding is that foiling will always be more tender.  I'd prefer not to foil because of the extra hassle and need to dry out the mush at the end. 
  • Phoenix824Phoenix824 Posts: 243
    I did the crunch last time but will not try it on my next brisket.    Bark was wet and turned to mush.     I tried to put in back on after the crunch to harden the bark but it did not turn out the way I wanted. 
    Steve
    Van Wert, Ohio
    XL BGE
  • mtredfishmtredfish Posts: 3
    With the egg, you dont need the crutch for moisture retention. . .But it can shorten your cook if your service timetable is rapidly approaching. I prefer to go without to retain better texture to my bark, but i havent noticed it makes a difference at all with flavor a moisture.

    P.s. I pull at 190 and rest it for 1-2 hrs depending on when i am serving. Minimum 1hour wrapped in foil in a small cooler or similar (like oven with no heat)
  • With the egg, you dont need the crutch for moisture retention. . .But it can shorten your cook if your service timetable is rapidly approaching. I prefer to go without to retain better texture to my bark, but i havent noticed it makes a difference at all with flavor a moisture.

    P.s. I pull at 190 and rest it for 1-2 hrs depending on when i am serving. Minimum 1hour wrapped in foil in a small cooler or similar (like oven with no heat)



    So don't you find resting in foil for an hour softens the bark? I never rest them unless I'm not ready to eat but I firm bark

  • Smoked a brisket a few weeks ago at 265 grate temperature. Started probing at 190. At 194, the probe did not slide in and out without resistance. At 196, it slid in and out like butter. It also had a little bounce to it - I think Amazing Ribs referred to this as the wabba wabba point. So I pulled an FTC'd for about 3 hours. Best brisket yet as far as moistness and tenderness. Much better success for me than when I've tried to go 225 on the grate, for what it's worth.
  • cmkratt said:
    Smoked a brisket a few weeks ago at 265 grate temperature. Started probing at 190. At 194, the probe did not slide in and out without resistance. At 196, it slid in and out like butter. It also had a little bounce to it - I think Amazing Ribs referred to this as the wabba wabba point. So I pulled an FTC'd for about 3 hours. Best brisket yet as far as moistness and tenderness. Much better success for me than when I've tried to go 225 on the grate, for what it's worth.
    I have found the exact same thing. I'll never go back to the 225 days again. the higher temps make better brisket on the egg

  • DonWWDonWW Posts: 257
    cmkratt said:
    Smoked a brisket a few weeks ago at 265 grate temperature. Started probing at 190. At 194, the probe did not slide in and out without resistance. At 196, it slid in and out like butter. Much better success for me than when I've tried to go 225 on the grate, for what it's worth.
    I have found the exact same thing. I'll never go back to the 225 days again. the higher temps make better brisket on the egg
    CM, you are getting lots of input - so I won't repeat.  I have always smoked at the 220 - 230 grate temp, but will definitely try the 250 - 270 next time.  The only sentiment I want to echo is try your first without the crutch.  From what you have read, you know that obtaining a wonderfully tender brisket is absolutely possible.  Given this, don't compromise that fantastic bark! 

    Cheers, and let us know how it turned out!
    XL BGE.  Dallas, Texas.
  • bennybenny Posts: 109
    no crutch, 210 215....never had a problem.  tried crutch , not for me. but it is whatever works for you. if i do two packers i like to overlap flat tails and rotate to get even bark. (on xl). then I have unifrom thickness of meat across two briskets, and a more even cook
  • Any problem doing two briskets in the same cook, one with crutch and one without, to compare?
  • Any problem doing two briskets in the same cook, one with crutch and one without, to compare?
    Nope. But the crutch will be done hours before the non-crutch (that's the whole purpose of the crutch)



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